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Women’s swimming category should be protected because of ‘fairness’, says pressure group after vote for effective ban on transgender competitors | world news

A transgender pressure group has said the female category in swimming should be protected for “fairness,” after a vote leading to transgender athletes being effectively banned from competing in elite women’s races.

FINA, the world governing body of swimming, has said it will explore setting up an “open” category for transgender people in some events as part of the new policy that also requires participants to have completed their transition by age 12 to compete in women’s races.

Transgender Trend, a group that researches trans issues and has been accused of being anti-trans, has said they support the idea of ​​an open category for “fairness” in sports.

Founder and director of the organization, Stephanie Davies-Arai, told Sky News: “There are categories for a purpose and male/female is a very important category.

“Transgenders should be able to exercise, but it should not be at the expense of women and fairness and women’s sport.”

Ms Davies-Arai added that she believes the open category will “make things fair” and that “it satisfies both requirements for inclusion”.

Transgender rights have become a hot topic of discussion within sport, including cycling and swimming, with both sports balancing inclusiveness and ensuring there is no unfair advantage.

However, the FINA vote has proved controversial among LGBTQ athletic groups, including Athlete Ally, who say the eligibility criteria are “discriminatory” and should include “all women.”

Proponents of transgender inclusion argue that not enough research has been done on the impact of transition on physical performance, and that elite athletes are often physical outliers anyway.

The vote has also divided opinion within the swimming world, with athletes including former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies expressing and supporting why she believes transgender women should not participate in female sports.

The issue of transgender inclusion in sports is very divisive, especially in the US, where it has become a weapon in a so-called “culture war” between conservatives and progressives.

Transgender rights are a subject of debate in the sporting world, but within swimming, it rose after American swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history after winning the women’s 500-yard freestyle earlier this year.

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